Tasty in infancy, but rarely thereafter.
You, dear readers, are doubtless always more circumspect with your words. So you will nod with immediate, sage recognition when I record, for posterity, this thing that is always and forever, without exception, The Wrong Thing to say. I sadly suspect that perhaps some of you, like me, have been on the receiving end of variations on this theme.
Woman A: Congratulations! How are you feeling?
Woman B: Well, you know, pretty bad. Can’t keep anything down, to the point that I might have to go on anti-emetics again; and I’ve got to be careful about dehydration.
Woman A: Oh, I always feel really sick when I’m pregnant too. [Wait for it…..wait for it….] But I just really hate throwing up, so I always manage not to get to the point of actually puking.
Woman B: Smiles weakly and creeps off to sip some Gatorade, hoping against hope that it stays down this time.
What you all immediately see here, of course, is that Woman A, however inadvertently, is implying one or both of the following:
1) Woman B doesn’t really hate throwing up. Hey, maybe she thinks it’s kind of fun!
2) Woman B is weak-minded or weak-willed; if only she were tougher she could control her bile rather than vice versa.
Now, it may well be that God gifted me with morning sickness to save me from the worse offense of being Woman A. Back when I got pregnant with BabyOne, morning sickness wasn’t even on my radar. I had at that time just a couple friends who’d been pregnant, and they lived far away. If ever I thought of morning sickness, it had a vague and Victorian association in my mind, like something associated with hand-on-forehead fainting spells and remedied with smelling salts. Certainly it was not something that would ever happen to me. I was Healthy and Strong!
Then, WHAM! I woke up puking one morning, and didn’t stop, round the clock, for months. I tried every weird remedy suggested by anyone and her mother’s third cousin, to no avail. By week 17 of that first pregnancy I was five pounds under my prepregnancy weight. So much for tough. And I’ve learned my lesson: unless you know what it is to be always scoping out the nearest restrooms and receptacles on the occasions when you must venture away from your own dear porcelain fixture; unless you know what it is to carry a bag in your pocket so that you don’t disgrace yourself by throwing up on a totally inappropriate surface if no toilet, garbage can, or bush is handy enough; the only words you should venture to offer to an emetic woman are those of deep sympathy.
Now. Lest we sometime hyper-emetics start feeling a sick (haha) sort of reverse pride in our barf badges, and be tempted to look with scorn upon those whose “only” complaint is nausea: I have also had a pregnancy in which the vomiting was miserable and bothersome, but not excessive or health-threatening. Yet nausea there was a-plenty—and at times it flattened me as effectively as the constant vomiting had. This too, I would not have comprehended, had I not experienced it. I would have been another version of Woman A, chirping, “Oh, I always feel sick too. But life must go on! I’m too busy just to lie uselessly on the floor wishing for death!”
Which brings me to my next point: Hey, people, rejoice with me! I’m puking again! And, you know, I have a ray of hope to offer those of you who may fear, after several rough pregnancies, that ‘twill ever be thus: this is the least sick I’ve been in a (Lord willing) viable pregnancy. I’m miserable, but in many important respects functional. Not that the household and the homeschooling and the whatnots haven’t suffered—but I do not take for granted this ability to remain mostly upright at least for the children’s waking hours. And I earnestly wish for those of you who through wretched experience fear the first months of pregnancy more than L&D, that you may also one day enjoy such reprieve!